Fenland man who shot neighbours over two-year dog feud convicted of attempted murder

A 57-year-old man has today been convicted of two counts of attempted murder after he shot his neighbours following a bitter two-year feud over their choice of dog.

The dispute came to a head on June 23 last year when Kevin Barrett, of High Street, Nordelph, fired a shotgun at David Venn’s face before shooting Susan Venn’s back, the jury at Norwich Crown Court heard.

Giving evidence Mr Venn said: “He told me ‘you’ve ruined my life, made my wife ill, I’m giving you everything’. He had wild, glazed eyes. I thought I was going to die.”

Mr Venn managed to block the bullet with his arm but as he lay bleeding on the ground, he saw Barrett ‘fiddling with the gun’.

He broke down in tears as he recalled: “I could only assume he was reloading. Then I saw blood appear on my wife’s back. I thought she was dead.

“My only chance of survival was to rush him before he could reload. Next thing I knew, the gun was in my hands and he was attacking me with the spade.”

The incident left the Venns with chest and hand injuries.

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Mr and Mrs Venn were treated by paramedics at the scene but had to be taken to hospital due to the severe injuries they had received.

Barrett was arrested close to the incident by firearms officers who recovered the shotgun. The 57-year-old was also found guilty of possession of a firearm with intent to cause serious harm during the trial.

Det Sgt Jason Davis, who led the investigation, said “This case involved a neighbourhood dispute that got completely out of hand.

“It culminated in Barrett waiting in Mr and Mrs Venn’s driveway with a loaded shotgun he had taken to the scene, and then attempting to shoot David Venn in the face at almost point blank range.

“It is extremely fortunate that Mr Venn was able to successfully take evasive action, else the injuries he suffered could have been far worse. It is down to luck that both Mr and Mrs Venn survived this attack.

“Irrespective of his views about the dispute he may have had with his neighbours, there can be no justification whatsoever for Barrett resorting to the level of violence he did in this case.”

The Barretts had lived next door to the Venns since 2005 and became close friends but jurors were told that their relationship began to deteriorate in 2008 after the Venns had decided to buy a rottweiler-mastiff cross called Milly.

Prosecutor Graham Parkins said that the Barretts, who had a Yorkshire terrier, had opposed their decision and Mr Barrett embarked on a campaign against the couple.

Barrett was found guilty after the one-week trial at Norwich Crown Court and will be sentenced tomorrow afternoon.

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